Ton Chin, 73, of Allston said he prefers to walk outside. But, in the winter, he has nowhere else to go. So, every morning, he and his wife, Kum, lace up their white sneakers, drive to Watertown, and walk the mall for an hour. Chin said he doesn't know what he'd do without it. "I come here every morning," he said.
This story brings to mind a conversation I had recently with an Allston resident about Harvard's athletic complex and its Gordon indoor track in Allston. The track is only used for competition six days a year and probably there are times during the week when the undergrads or other Harvard people who would use the track are in class or busy doing other things. It would be a nice thing for members of the community like Mr. Chin to be able to walk at the Harvard track instead of driving to Watertown. Of course Harvard doesn't have to do this, but it would be a nice way to be a good neighbor. In some small way it would be a symbolic way to compensate the community for inconvenience's caused by events like the high school hockey tournament last week that put Allston residents and others in crazy traffic backups (North Harvard St northbound backed up from the Stadium to Cambridge St!).